The Washington Township Police Officer who arrested State Assemblyman Paul Moriarty for DUI has been suspended.
On July 31, Officer Dibuonaventura stopped Paul Moriarty, 56, in the middle of the afternoon, arrested him and charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Moriarty was taken to the Washington Township Police Department and processed. He was charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test and Failure to Maintain Lane and then released.
Moriarty maintains his innocence and claims Dibuonaventura specifically targeted him. Moriarty used to be mayor of Washington Twp. and right after his arrest, he issued a statement saying the officer was previously fired from the force and then reinstated by a court order. Requests for those official police records have been denied because of an ongoing investigation. Moriarty also submitted to a blood test seven hours after his arrest. He claims it shows no trace of alcohol in his system.
Earlier in October, Moriarty filed a 27-count criminal complaint against Dibuonaventura, accusing the officer of lying and falsifying a police report.
Moriarty and his attorney, John Eastlack Jr., held a press conference to release the video of the arrest from Dibuonaventura's dash-cam. Before presenting the video, Eastlack said:
What you're going to see on this tape is Mr. Moriarty at all times traveling lawfully and not committing any traffic violations whatsoever in the right hand lane of Black Horse Pike in Washington Township. He then goes into a jughandle, goes across and puts his left hand turn signal on. There’s plenty of distance between him and the officer behind him. He makes a left hand turn, goes in, the officer activates his overhead lights and says that he cut him off. What the report is going to demonstrate is that later the officer had the chance to see the video which shows that there is no traffic violation. He tells his superior it’s a shame that the video didn’t go back further because the time that’s on there doesn’t capture any violation. To which his superior says, ‘oh do you want more? We can get that for you.’ At which time there’s a noticeable silence and the officer then knows that he has to make up a different story...
The only person seen on this video committing traffic violations is the police officer. He leaves the median strip going at speeds approaching 80 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone, going through red lights without his overhead lights on.
Former New Jersey State Police Lieutenant Frank Rogers also attended the conference and backed up Moriarty's claims.
"Based upon my training experience, it's clearly a false police report," said Rogers.
Moriarty also stated the following:
I knew from the moment that this officer stopped me that he was lying to me. He lied to me about why he stopped me. He was lying to me about smelling alcohol on my breath because I hadn’t consumed any alcohol. I knew his previous past as an officer who had been fired from the police force for lying so I knew something was up. That’s why I made the decision once he arrested me to not cooperate any further because I had no idea what was in store for me next. This officer targeted me and followed me. The video clearly shows he followed me and then he fabricated a story about why he was stopping me. And then he told that lie repeatedly to me and to his superior officers. He lied again in the police report. And he lied in the summons that he gave to me. This has been humiliating and embarrassing. And this should happen to no one. There are a lot of great cops out there and they put their lives out there every day. But on this day, it was a shameful act.
Moriarty Arrest Part 1
Moriarty Arrest Part 2
Moriarty Arrest Part 3
The Washington Township Chief of Police released the following statement in response to Moriarty's allegations:
At this time I am not in a position to comment on the arrest of Assemblyman Paul Moriarty. This matter has been referred to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.
The Attorney General's Internal Affairs guidelines clearly states that the County Prosecutor's Office must be immediately notified of all allegations of criminal misconduct. No further action can be taken by that agency until a review is conducted by the Prosecutor's Office.
Any further questions regarding this matter should be referred to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.
On October 22, Judge Casarow of the Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland Vicinage, accepted 13 criminal charges filed by Moriarty against Officer Dibuonaventura. Those charges include two counts of official misconduct, swearing and filing false reports, tampering with public records and harassment with intent to harm.
Moriarty's DUI case is now on hold. His scheduled November 8 court date has been canceled. He will not be in court until the charges against Officer Dibuonaventura go before a grand jury.
Officer Dibuonaventura was suspended with pay on October 22.
Moriarty has served in the New Jersey General Assembly, representing the 4th Legislative District, since 2006. He also served as the Mayor of Washington Township from 2004 until 2008.
Prior to his political career, Moriarty worked as an investigative journalist at CBS 3 for 17 years. Moriarty was also a news producer for NBC10 in the late 1980’s.